New diesel engines
I am considering buying a diesel. I don't tow all the time, and I was woundering if just driving unloaded from place to place is bad for a diesel. I know that the really old diesels were supposed to be working all of the time, and it wasn't good for them to make short trips. I have heard that the new diesels are different and you can drive them like a gas engine. Is this true?
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How many miles do you drive per year and what do you consider a short trip?
I personally would rather not have a diesel truck for a daily driver. Ours is loaded 90% of the time and when it's not it's not the most convenient vehicle to rip through town. I'm quite used to driving large vehicles, but if you're one of these guys that make three-point turns in your little Buick to get into a parking spot, you may want to think twice about daily driving a 1-ton.
Any savings in fuel?
The question is, do you need that? The diesel engine itself costs more initially. In a new Ford invoice price on one is just over $4,000.00 and that is true of GM and Dodge trucks, as well. I don't know how they hold their value in a used vehicle, so I don't know what one would add to the value of a 2000 model, but I expect at least $3,000.00.
I would suggest you check the incentives on new trucks before buying a used one. You might want to compare your used truck's price to new truck prices. A used truck holds its value extremely well compared to most vehicles, and financing on used vehicles is usually not as advantageous as the incentives being offered by manufacturers for new ones. I would compare Edmund's TMV on a new one equipped identically to the used one you are looking at and calculate the payments that are currently offered. At one time they were offering 0% interest for 36 months, and a low interest if you wanted to go longer.
Before I bought a truck for commuting, however, I would consider some other things, like is this to be your only vehicle, do you need a truck other than for the commute to and from work, and will you have a family vehicle, as well?
Some have bought them for long commutes for safety and comfort, and I am sure they are both compared to small cars, but before I retired in 1998 I commuted 100 miles per day round trip in a 1992 Toyota Tercel I bought new. I found I could buy a stripped version specifically for that purpose with a four speed manual transmission, air conditioner, and a radio for about $7,000.00 new. It gets 40 mpg of gas, takes 3.5 quarts of oil to a change, which I do myself in about five minutes, and doesn't use a drop of oil between changes today, although it is showing 176,000 miles on the odometer.
I figure with the savings in the original purchase price, interest, fuel and not wearing out a much more expensive family use vehicle I more than paid for the Tercel in the first three or four years I had it, and I am still driving it on errands that don't require much room. For me it was comfortable, quick, and I had no problems at all safety wise.
My thinking was something like this. I wouldn't want a family vehicle to use on long trips with more than 100,000 miles on it. Please keep in mind this analysis did not include a diesel vehicle which might well go much further. At 100 miles per day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year with no other driving, I was putting 25,000 miles per year on a vehicle, which meant I would reach the 100,000 mile mark in four years--one year BEFORE I would have a 60 month payment plan completed and own the vehicle. Then the next year I would be into the area of mileage I figured questionable for reliability for transporting my family. And we all know I would have put miles on it other than commuting during that time, which would have decreased the time it took to reach that level.
I only paid around $7,000.00 for the Tercel in 1992 dollars, and I imagine back then I would have probably paid three times that for a new truck or twice that for a new larger car, as well as that much more interest on it. As it was, the Tercel was paid for in three years, I got twice the mileage, and all for 1/2 to 1/3 of the initial cost of buying a larger vehicle.
I saved a minimum of $7,000.00, probably more, on the purchase plus interest. Then assuming $1.00 per gallon for fuel the cost per mile of fuel to drive was 2.5 cents for the Tercel and 5 cents for the vehicle that got 20 mpg. Over a distance of 100,000 miles that would be a fuel cost of $2,500.00 for the economy car and $5,000.00 for the larger one, savings of another $2,500.00.
What about a used vehicle? I checked that at the time, too. Using my standard of driving a family vehicle no more than 100,000 total miles and comparing them at the time I took the mileage on some used vehicles, deducted it from 100,000, and calculated the cost to drive it per mile until it reached 100,000 miles by dividing it into the cost of the used vehicle. Funny thing is, it came out about the same per mile, but if I'm not mistaken a used car will usually cost more to finance than will a new one even without incentives by the manufacturers.
Needless to say, I felt it more cost effective to buy a new small car to keep miles off our bigger family vehicle. Might want to consider it.
P.S. Ford is coming out with a smaller diesel engine for the F-150's and Expeditions it doesn't sound like they are worried about short trips at all(source for the new engine info is blueovalnews.com).